It is a progressive, degenerative neurological disorder that affects the human brain where the brain is unable to function properly due to old age. It’s a common form of dementia, which worsens, with time. Alzheimer’s disease affects a person’s thinking, memory; social interaction ability and hence, carrying out day-to-day normal activities becomes a great challenge.
Alzheimer’s can be classified into 2 types:
- Early onset Alzheimer’s – This is genetic and often occurs before 60 years of age. It’s very rare and can be seen in only 5% of the population.
- Late onset Alzheimer’s – As the name suggests, Alzheimer’s occurs after 60 years of age.
Causes of Alzheimer’s
The exact cause is unknown, but in Ayurveda vata prakopa (aggravation) and imbalance is considered to be the culprit. Vata is predominant in old age, which dries up the brain and nervous system causing psychological disorders.
- Age being the main causative factor
- Head injury in the past
- High cholesterol
- Atrial fibrillation
- Genetic links
Symptoms of Alzheimer’s
Each individual experiences different symptoms:
- Memory loss.
- Difficulty in finding words while speaking and writing.
- Difficulty in planning and organising things.
- Inability to remember personal details.
- Completely confused.
- Repeating word unknowingly.
- Forgetting appointments, conversations.
- Getting lost in familiar places.
- Forget names of family members and objects eventually.
- Mood swings
Ayurvedic Medicinal benefits for Alzheimer’s
As it’s known to us that, Ayurveda stands on main three elements, the tridoshas (Vata, Pitta and Kapha). Their imbalance causes diseases. Here in Alzheimer’s, vata is the element which is completely imbalanced especially in old age.
If Alzheimer’s is detected in the early stage, it’s easy to reverse the condition with ayurvedic herbal medicines and Panchakarma therapy.
Panchakarma therapy for Alzheimer’s
- Shirodhara – It’s a procedure where hot medicated oils, decoctions, buttermilk is poured gently over the forehead. This therapy relaxes and stimulates the nerve cells and soothes the brain relieving from stress, fatigue and depression. Similarly shiro pichu, shiro basti are performed.
- Nasya – It’s a therapy where medicated oil is poured into the nostrils, which reaches the brain. It rejuvenates the brain cells and stimulating the nervous activity.
Here are some of the herbs listed out, which have proven to very effective in preventing and curing Alzheimer’s and dementia, when consumed in appropriate combination and proportions.
- Ashwagandha (withania somnifera) – This is a key herb in treating Alzheimer’s. Its main role is to arrest the degeneration and deterioration of the brain cells. It works as a brain tonic when taken regularly. It reduces fatigue and mental stress thus slowing down the progress of Alzheimer’s and dementia.
- Brahmi (Bacopa Monnieri) – Brahmi can be given in the form of ghee or powder that can be mixed with honey or tea in psychological conditions, which help in balancing vata reducing the Alzheimer’s symptoms. Brahmi renders peace and calms the mind, when the emotions are released more easily reducing stress and anxiety.
- Shankhapushpi – is one of the best medhya (brain tonic). It helps in eliminating stress, anxiety, depression, and neurotoxicity. It increases concentration, focus and helps to recollect the events.
- Vacha (Acorus calamus) – The root of this herb is an excellent remedy for slurred speech, loss of speech. It activates the speech centre in the brain. It improves immunity and boosts the memory power.
- Turmeric (Curcuma longa) – Its antioxidant property helps in removal of free radicals. It’s anti-inflammatory property helps in reducing degeneration and inflammation of brain cells.
- Tagara (Valeriana wallichii) – It improves the concentration, capacity to think and reasoning.
Along with the above herbs, a proper diet and regime has to be followed:
- Avoid cold air, cold weather
- Always keep yourself warm.
- Avoid cold water, ice cream and refrigerated items. Cold is vata guna, hence constricts the nerves and blocks the blood supply to the brain.
- Consume hot soups, stews and hot foods.
- Practice yoga and pranayama. Pranayama control the prana vayu, which takes care of brain functions.
- Get abhyanga (oil massage), and swedana (steaming) done which pacifies Vata.
- Follow proper diet with heavy meals, avoiding dry and light food.
The inference is by following proper diet and lifestyle; we can prevent Alzheimer’s disease. Ayurveda plays an important role with natural herbs and Panchakarma therapy in preventing, curing and reversing Alzheimer’s disease.